Roger Brown, Sylvia Brown, Michael Patrick Cullinane, Sandra Leaton Gray and Gordon Thomas...

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

May 30, 2013

Roger Brown, professor of higher education policy, Liverpool Hope University, is reading Thomas E. Ricks’ Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (Penguin, 2007). “On the basis of copious evidence, Ricks shows how the US-led invasion and occupation was deficient at every level, from the strategic (what would happen if Saddam Hussein were deposed?) right down to mundane matters such as the supply of flak jackets to Iraqi police officers. What was particularly striking was the poor quality of both civilian and military leadership at the more senior levels.”

The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin

Sylvia Brown, associate professor in the department of English and film studies, University of Alberta, is reading Edmund Crispin’s The Moving Toyshop (Victor Gollancz, 1969). “I wanted ‘something frivolous’, so my husband handed me this discard from Bedford Central Library, still in its yellow Gollancz thriller cover. Why haven’t I made the acquaintance of don-detective Gervase Fen before? He is aggressively bright and clever at solving crime, but you have to take his ‘tremendous scholarly abilities’ on faith. He carefully avoids discussing Measure for Measure with the chief constable.”

The Embassy in Grosvenor Square by Alison R. Holmes and J. Simon Rofe

Michael Patrick Cullinane, senior lecturer in US history at Northumbria University, is reading The Embassy in Grosvenor Square: American Ambassadors to the United Kingdom, 1938-2008 (Palgrave, 2012), edited by Alison R. Holmes and J. Simon Rofe. “The US Embassy in London moved to Grosvenor Square in 1938, and in 2008 announced it was moving out. For more than 70 years the building was home to US ambassadors who helped to transform international relations. Holmes and Rofe have gathered an impressive group of scholars (editors included) to explain the complexities of that diplomacy and the context of Anglo-American relations. A great taste of London’s ‘Little America’.”

The Craft of Intelligence by Allen W. Dulles

Sandra Leaton Gray, senior lecturer in education, Institute of Education, is reading Allen W. Dulles’ The Craft of Intelligence (Lyons Press, 2006). “This book is queuing on my bedside table. It offers an insight into the way intelligence is gathered, processed and deployed; and as a social science researcher, I am keen to see where the overlaps are with my own information-based craft. I am also hoping to map the fault-lines between using traditional intelligence approaches and the rise of new forms of terrorism.”

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Gordon Thomas, financial support officer, University of Nottingham, is reading Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk about When I Talk about Running (Vintage, 2009). “A unique book - part memoir, part discourse on Murakami’s method as a novelist and part love letter to his favourite hobby, running. Graham Greene famously used to write 500 words per day, every day without fail; here we learn how Murakami began both running and writing novels seriously in his early thirties and how, for him, these two disciplines are inextricably linked.”

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